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The Week in Fact-Checking: How to beat bad Twitter

Think you know how to tell a real tweeter from a fake one? Test yourself with  10 tips compiled by digital sleuther Henk van Ess for Poynter.

Quote of the week
“Most people, most of the time, don’t use social media for politics. But in the days before a major election or referendum social media platforms provide the most important source of information in most democracies. How they design for deliberation is now crucial to the success of democracy.”   —  Philip Howard and Bence Kollanyi, writing for The Guardian

A ‘dangerous’ idea to stop misinformation
Should governments get involved in the regulation of fake news, disinformation and misinformation? Some European leaders are promoting that tactic, but history votes “no.” 

In Catalonia, hoaxes on both sides
The violent aftermath of the Catalan independence referendum was a fertile territory for fake news, according to Clara Jiménez Cruz of Maldito Bulo. Pro-independence hoaxers faked incidents of police violence; anti-independence ones blamed protesters for police deaths. (ICYMI, Maldito Bulo and El Objetivo had published a pre-referendum video, and El Objetivo had dedicated a segment to political falsehoods about the referendum.)

Nuntii fallaces and the Pope 
Pope Francis wants to fight nuntii fallaces (Latin for “fake news”) and he wants to use the annual World Day of Social Communications to spread the word. In addition, a papal report on the evils of misinformation will be released on Jan. 24, the feast of St. Francis de Sales, the patron saint of journalists.

What are you checking?
We’ve all been there.

Digital budol-budol in the Philippines
At a Senate hearing in the Philippines this week, one senator warned that rampant misinformation in the country was the “e-version of budol-budol” — referring to a pervasive fake-money scam. The hearings are being held to examine the government’s potential role in news literacy.

Following Facebook follies? Here’s an update.
Two media professors implicate Facebook’s advertising program in the U.S. election’s fake news problem…Facebook and Google both promoted misinformation during the Las Vegas shootings this week…Americans are blaming Facebook for rampant misinformation on social media…A UNC professor isn’t buying Mark Zuckerberg’s “preposterous defense.”…Why can’t we report Facebook videos as fake?

How to be a fact-checker
The new Better News website, supported by the American Press Institute and the Knight Foundation, is designed to be a curated collection of all the best resources, all in one place. Visit the fact-checking and accountability reporting sections and let us know what you’d add. (There’s a handy online form.)

Fact check this fact check of a fact check
A conservative writer blasts media fact-checking of politically charged monologues on gun control and health care by late-night talk show hosts. The writer, btw, was named “Journalist of the Year” and “Gun Rights Defender of the Year” by the Second Amendment Foundation.

Faktisk finds its footing in Norway
The Norwegian fact-checking consortium Faktisk has been up and running for three months now. Poynter’s Daniel Funke says it has three key takeaways for fact-checkers around the world: “Try to share your fact checks for free, explore new distribution strategies and work with established media organizations to improve your resources.”

12 quick fact-checking links
(1) Is the panic over fake news also fake news? (2) Discussing gun control with friends? Share this fact check.  (3) Magazine publishers launch a campaign to portray magazines as accurate and fact-checked: “Magazines. Better. Believe it.”  (4) The University of Michigan’s Teach-Out on “Fake News, Facts and Alternative Facts” begins this week. It’s free.  (5) Africa Check and controversial Afrikaans musician Steve Hofmeyr debate facts. (6) Are you at the Online News Association conference? Stop in at the “Verification Training for Journalists” training program Thursday at 2 p.m. in the Harding Room. (7) Dictionary.com has a new definition for fake news.  (8) First Draft officially goes to Harvard. (9) Job: reporter on the WaPo Fact Checker team. (10) Anyone seen any Puerto Rico hoax roundups? Tweet us. (11) Jutta Kramm of Correctiv reflects on fake news and the German election. (12) The ICFJ announced the winners of its “TruthBuzz” awards.

 

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